Posted by: Lauren Fox | June 8, 2010

Hyperlocal blogs invest in community news.

By : Lauren Fox

It wasn’t uncommon in the 1950s for families to gather around the television together and watch the 5 o’clock news. And until recently, newspapers  left by commuters littered subway stations and busses.

However, with the rise of participatory media sources such as Youtube, Facebook, Flickr and participatory news sources such as the Huffington Post, which offers its audience the opportunity to take part in a read/write culture, old forms of media have become outdated and irrelevant.

In an effort to make his industry relevant again, Jeff Jarvis, a professor of graduate studies in journalism at City University of New York , set out to do a study on what the future of journalism would look like. His answer: hyperocal, hyperlocal and hyperlocal.

Jarvis recently discussed post-newspaper journalism on NPR’s On the Media. Jarvis set out to answer the complicated question of what would happen if all of the  newspapers in a top-25 meto market folded. Jarvis said that the newspapers would not be replaced by a single new entity but instead by a collection of many different products operating under an array of models.

What does Hyperlocal look like?

The hyperlocal blog community would be a remediation of local newspapers. It would include trained journalists who left their newsroom jobs or got laid off and chose to pursue their careers online. The ecosystem would include not-for-profit news organizations such as NPR and ProPublica. Those news organizations would continue to rely on donations and their tax-exempt status to survive. According to Jarvis, the ecosystem would also include the new newsroom, which would be a smaller staff of journalists who pursue beat and investigative journalism online. That would account for the nuts and bolts of the journalism we know today.

However, those “nuts and bolts” journalists would also have a new role. Jarvis argues that to guard against a cult of amateurs reporting on news and muddying the truth. Two things will have to happen.

First, readers will have to recognize legitimate news from bias and untruthful sources.

Second, Jarvis suggests that trained journalists would have a new role of working collaboratively with hyperlocal and special interest bloggers to train them, edit their work and help them develop newsworthy story ideas. The growth of the hyperlocal blog would make it easier for bloggers to market their sites to specific advertisers and would make it easier to commodify those targeted audiences.

The growth of hyper local blogs will make it easier for advertisers to target their messages at more specific demographics

The growth of hyper local blogs will make it easier for advertisers to target their messages at more specific demographics.

Is Hyperlocal a lucrative model?

In his study, Jarvis says that the hyperlocal blog can be a lucrative business model. Today, there are hyperlocal bloggers that are making between $100,00 and $200,000 in revenue each year.Without printing cost, infrastructure overhead and large staff salaries to pay, Jarvis believes that a robust news ecosystem will be better able to serve its community for less cost.

When Google began matching algorithms to display ads that were the most relevant for each website and reader that was visiting a site, a new world of advertising took flight. And with hyperlocal blogs, the market is expected to be around $100 billion dollars according to an article for FastCompany by Michael Gluckstadt. Being able to connect customers with products in their geographic area and within their realm of interest is a double whammy for advertisers looking to commodify their audiences.

Jarvis projects that at the end of three years, hyperlocal focused news organizations will be able to bring in profit margins that are equal to the “glory days of newspapers.”

However, Jarvis does concede that the actual profits will be less  because the new newsrooms are much smaller. Therefore, the 30 percent margin on the $20 million business will not be as lucrative as the 30 percent margin that existed on the old $800 million industry. However, Jarvis says that because it is profitable, it is a sustainable model.

Where is this model at today?


On March 2, 2009 the New York Times unveiled a new series of hyperlocal blogs that are targeted at individual neighborhoods and communities within New York City. The Local is composed of two seperate blogs – one covers the Clinton HIll and Fort Greene  neighborhoods in Brooklyn and the other covers Maplewood, Millburn and South Orange, New Jersey. While the New York Times has assigned a staff member to manage, edit and write for each blog, the majority of content is written by a team of citizen journalists.

The New York Times chose to cover those specific geographic areas in an effort to compete directly with other hyperlocal blogs such as Montclair’s Baristanet, Broolyn’s Brownstoner and Google’s own Patch, which covers the same neighborhoods in New Jersey and also has a staff of 19 bloggers. In its conception, the hyperlocal model seemed to break down old media hierarchies. No longer were big news outlets the only ones with a say in what was happening. However, New York Time’s staffer Tina Kelley says that the leadership of major news outlets such as the Times can help make  hyperlocal blogs such as The Local more competitive.

“It will be interesting to see how these blogs shake out in the coming years,” Kelley said. “In particular, I think the New York Times’s strategy of having staff writers and editors curate the blogs is inspired, and gives these a much better shot than so many unmanaged, automated citizen journalist blogs before them.

It was only a matter of time before citizens who were interested in making their own movies for Youtube, connecting to their friends on Facebook and updating their lives on Twitter would want to be a part of the news they read. The participatory ability of citizen journalists in the hyperlocal sphere is infinite, yet, hyperlocal blogs are also a place where professional journalists can still influence content and pursue news that matters.

Sources

Trends 2010 : Hyperlocal

‘Hyperlocal’ Web Sites Deliver News Without Newspapers

The Rise of Hyperlocal Information

Supermetricity Hyperlocal News

4 big trends in Seattle hyperlocal news

Post-Newspaper Journalism?

The Local

Posted by: Lauren Fox | May 28, 2010

Google and its love affair with news.

By: Lauren Fox

Google and the News in 2007

In 2007, Neil Henry, a professor of journalism at UC Berkeley began lamenting about how google was responsible for the decline of investigative journalism during one of his lectures.

He referred specifically to the  San Francisco Chronicle and its shrinking newsroom. He addressed  the types of investigative journalism that were at risk of being defunded: government investigations, corporate investigations and more.

During his lecture he raised an interesting question about whether Google and other online search engines should start subsidizing journalism. He argued that sites such as Google and Yahoo were indirectly benefiting from the expensive labor of journalists and should start taking responsibility for their plight.

His point was that google was profiting off the advertising they sold on the page where the search engine also had links to news sources. (He must not have thought about the fact that without search engine optimization, newspapers would be almost unsearchable online.)

I see a world where corporations such as Google and Yahoo continue to enrich themselves with little returning to journalistic enterprises, all this ultimately at the expense of legions of professional reporters across America, now out of work because their employers in “old” media could not afford to pay them,” Henry said.

Google offers to help

Three years later and Google has not just accepted some responsibility for declining print revenues, but they have insisted on helping the news industry figure out how to become profitable once again.

James Fallows of the Atlantic recently wrote an article chronicling Google’s dilemma with regard to news. Fallows said that Google wants to fix the newspaper industry not solely for philanthropic or civic reasons, but for commercial ones as well. The company’s thought process is that if news organizations cease to create accurate and investigative journalism pieces than the search engine will no longer have interesting and reliable content to link to.

The symbiotic relationship between organizations such as the New York Times that create content and the corporations such as Google that profit off that content by making it a searchable commodity, is forcing Google to forge the fight to save the news business in its entirety.

That means creating a new and more sustainable business model for the industry, and Google has not hesitated to make suggestions regarding the ways in which the newspapers could improve.

Finding a new business model

Google’s  chief economistHal Variam, urges newspapers to move away from the hard copy business model. Variam says that since 1947 the number of newspapers bought per family has dwindled every year leading to a gradual decrease in subsription profits and advertising profits.

If you were starting from scratch, you could never possibly justify this business model,” Variam said. “Grow trees then grind them up, and truck big rolls of paper down from Canada? Then run them through enormously expensive machinery, hand-deliver them overnight to thousands of doorsteps, and leave more on newsstands, where the surplus is out of date immediately and must be thrown way.”

Instead, Variam and others at Google suggest newspapers move to a completely online model, which would be convenient considering that Google cannot profit from hard copies of newspapers.

“Nothing that I see suggest the ‘death of newspapers,”Google CEO Eric Schmidt said in the Atlantic in March. “Today you have a subscription to a print newspaper and in the future model, you’ll have subscriptions to information sources that will have advertisements embedded in them.”

Many who work in the newspaper business such as New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller argue that moving to a completely online model is unfeasible at this time because advertising online is not near as profitable as placed ads in newsprint.

However, Google executives promise that the news industry is just in the “transitional stage” and soon will begin to see advertising profits online that are equal to what they saw in their print product during the late 1980s.

Google executives argue that internet advertisers are getting dangerously close to being able to identify each specific user on a computer and direct advertisements to his or her specific interests in a way that fully bundled and general newspaper ads never could. Before, newspapers were only able to correspond advertisements to the specific section that the ads fell in. For example greenhouse ads went in an outdoor living section of a newspaper and advertisements for women’s clothing went into the style section.

The vertical integration between the news source and the search engine that directs attention toward it, is a tricky balance of philanthropy and self-interest.

Google experiments in ways to organize news

Compared to what Google could use for bragging rights, they have remained almost silent on the issue because they say that they are still in the early development stages of helping the news industry. (It should be noted that Google said that they were still in the development stages with their search engine function until  three months ago.Even though the search engine has existed for more than five years.) Fallows also claims that news organizations working with Google  have also chosen to stay quiet.

In April, Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, gave an address to a group of editors at their annual convention. He assured them that he would do everything in his power to make sure that the news business would continue to exist well into the future.

Taking it a step further, he wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal announcing that Google would be going out of its way to develop new business models that would guarantee more money for struggling news organizations. His choice of paper also made a statement.

Rupert Murdoch has blamed Google numerous times for the newspaper industry’s demise.

Regardless of what Murdoch thinks, Google’s web researchers have begun looking into what makes newspapers effective and what makes than ineffective.

Leading media developer Krishna Bharat has been a head researcher on projects such as Living Stories, which tried to combat a common complaint against news sources that articles are often repetitive and present the same information over and over again. Living Stories, which existed from December 2009 to February 2010 worked in collaboration with two of the country’s leading newspapers, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

In Living Stories, complete coverage of an on-going story was placed together and prioritized under one URL. Each story included an evolving summary of developments as a well as an interactive timeline of those events. Stories could be explored by themes, significant participants or multimedia. Updates to the stories were highlighted each time viewers returned to the URL making it so readers were not forced to read the same information over again.

In 2009, Youtube, a site owned by Google. (Talk about synergy) posted a video showing readers how to use Living Stories.

Another complaint against newspapers that Google executives attempted to fix was the fact that online reading can be dense and difficult to page through. To combat that problem, Bharat helped to develop Fast Flip.

Fast Flip began in June 2009 to simulate the feeling of flipping through a magazine or newspaper. It works by loading newspaper and magazine pages quickly onto a screen as they would appear in their original format. In less than a year more than 90 american-based print mediums are part of the Fast Flip.

“It gives you a sense of the graphics, the emphasis, the quality, the feel of a hard copy,” Bharat said regarding the Fast Flip application.

Google also suggested to newspapers that they begin to use YouTube more broadly. Researchers said that YouTube, which is owned by Google, could help news organizations engage with their audience.

Google suggested that newspapers use the site to gather citizen-generated news footage. Google said that hyperlocal videos could help to create a two-way dialogue between professional reporters and their readership as well as contribute to a wider range of content for their sites.

A long way to go

Whatever the solution, Google researchers say that they are confident that ten years from now, a robust and even stronger media will exist. They say that they want to be on the leading edge of that movement to make sure that the dream becomes a reality.

However, readers and newspapers alike must ask themselves whether or not Google is really serving newspapers or whether they are just trying to serve themselves.


Should Google Subsidize Journalists

Neil Henry Biography

James Fallows Biography

Rupert Murdoch Versus Google

Living Stories

How to Save the News

Fast Flip and Living Stories now on Google News

Posted by: Lauren Fox | May 13, 2010

New York Times Magazine continues to evolve.

By: Lauren Fox

The bright photography, enterprise stories and quirky attitude keep audiences coming back each and every week. However, The New York Times Magazine continues to evolve in order to broaden its readership and gain more advertisers.

History/ Context

Readers may be under the impression that The New York Times Magazine is a relatively new product. And judging by its glossy pages and modern design, their hunch would seem accurate. But, the magazine has actually been around since September 6, 1896 and has just undergone a series of calculated business redesigns to expand its audience and ensure its survival.

The Magazine has come a long way since its first issue. In 1897, the 12-page supplement featured a 12-page spread of photographs of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.  The creation of the “serious” Sunday Magazine was the idea of Editor Adolph Ochs.  Ochs is credited with preventing the New York Times from going bankrupt at a time when journalism was transitioning from its sensational past to its objective future. Ochs banned comic strips, fiction writing and gossip columns from the New York Times and suggested a “Sunday Supplement” to give readers something else to latch onto.

Evolution of the Magazine

In the early days, the New York Times Magazine built its reputation of the esteem of its contributing writers. Famous socialites, celebrities, actors, activists and intellectuals of the time often submitted essays  for the magazine. People such as Albert Einstein, W.E.B. DuBois, Leo Tolstoy, Gertrude Stein and Tennessee Williams helped to make the magazine a success.

In 1970, the New York Times began running a daily op-ed section and the magazine began moving away from publishing guest editorial pieces regularly. Instead, the magazine began publishing journalist’s opinion pieces. In 1979, William Safire began running “On Language,” a column discussing issues of grammar. Eventually, his pieces got more mail than anything else the magazine ran.

In 1999, “The Ethicist,” an advice column written by Randy Cohen added a new dimension to the magazine. It provided a place where readers could interact with content more personally. It also was a turning point where the magazine began to serve reader’s interests.

In a Pew Research Center poll, many journalists reported that the bottom line forced them to move away from their role as watch dogs and toward the role of editorialists producing fluffier content.

“Two-thirds of those in national and local news say that news organizations’ attempts to attract readers or viewers has pushed them toward infotainment instead of news.”

The introduction of the Puzzle Page was another step toward reader connection. The frivolous use of crosswords, Sudoku Puzzles and other riddlers was a step away from Ochs philosophy, but an attempt to make some extra cash.

Finally, in 2006, the magazine introduced its latest attempt at audience connection and diversification. The New York Times Magazine chose to introduce three additional supplements. PLAY is a sports magazine that is published every other month: KEY is a real estate  magazine that is published bi-annually: and  T magazine, a fashion magazine, is produced on a quarterly basis.

The New York Time Company’s attempt at synergy through expansion of supplemental materials has been a common thread in the news business. The sum of several glossy magazines that are all targeted at separate audiences gives the company an opportunity to expand not only readership, but advertisers as well.

In its media kit website, which is directed at advertisers, the New York Times Company clearly states that the broad range of magazine products enables advertisers to target readers directly:

“The New York Times Magazine focuses on everything from the environment, politics,entertainment, fashion and art. The variety of brand extentions also caters to the interests and passions of Times readers.”

Advertising

In its press kit, the New York Times Magazine doesn’t hide the identity of its readers from advertisers. It knows that identity all too well. In fact, you have seen above the ways in which the Times has revolutionized its content over the years to more accurately represent those readers.

“You will gain extended brand exposures with a mixture of magazine and customized web packaged advertising. As a company we have been branching out through blogs, interactive polls, video streaming and celebrity crossword puzzles to ensure that you will be able to access the audience you desire.” ( New York Times’ promise on advertising website)

According to the statistics, the 1,451,233 weekly readers of the magazine are a highly educated and wealthy bunch. According to the media kit89% of readers have some college education and 54% make more than $75,000 a year. A majority of readers are between the ages of 25 and 54, but more than 30% of readers are between the ages of 18-24. 51.7% of readers are woman and 48.3% are men.

Notable Contributors and cotroversies.

The New York Times Magazine is a supplement to the Sunday New York Times. It provides a space for enterprise content that would not typically fit in the newspaper. Even today, it attracts noteworthy contributors and photographers like Emily Gould, a relationship author and co-editor of gawker.com.

However, when the magazine published a 7, 937 word essay by her and made it the cover story, the magazine caught the heat. Gould’s essay contained no other sources and was notably longer than other investigative pieces the Times had run. Including one story about “Obama’s War Over Terrorism” that was released online two weeks before the magazine went to print because of its timeliness and editors’ fears that the magazine would be scooped if they held onto the piece until the magazine hit stands.

The Huffington Post was less than thrilled about the article.

“Modern Love’ essay, 7,937 words that did not venture beyond the author’s own experience; for some perspective, the NYT’s investigative expose on the Pentagon’s purported ties to on-air military analysts had 7,486.”

It is still unknown why the New York Times Magazine chose to run such a flighty cover article, but if they were not trying to settle the score with Gawker.com , a major blog competitor with the magazine, then maybe they were just trying to do what they had been doing for more than 100 years. They were trying to  keep up with the times and reach an audience they hadn’t sold ads for yet.

A prime example of audience commodification. The objective of this magazine and magazine’s around the country is to access an audience that has not yet been identified, researched and commodified.

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Work Cited

Exposed

Inside the Google Cafeteria

New Gloss on an Old Story

2010 Survey Report by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press

New York Times Media Report

Adolph Ochs: Newspaper Legend

Magazines Change for Advertisers

Posted by: Lauren Fox | May 2, 2010

The New York Times Company..

By : Lauren Fox

On September 18, 1851 the New-York Daily Times had its debut. The paper  newspaper was sold for one penny and pledged its loyal adherence to “be radical when necessary and conservative when need be.”

The promise was made by co-founders Henry Jarvis Raymond and George Jones. Both had been reporters, but Jarvis Raymond served on the New York State Assembly the night the paper first went to bed. Today, the New York Times Company owns 18 newspapers, more than 50 websites and is worth more than a penny a paper. Today, Raymond would also never be able to hold a political position and serve as an executive in the New York Times Company; the company has policies against those sorts of shenanigans now. According to the Times’s Ethics and Responsibilities code no one may even wear a button supporting a political party nonetheless run for office.

“Journalists have no place on the playing fields of politics. Staff members are entitled to vote, but they must do nothing that might raise questions about their professional neutrality or that of The Times. In particular, they may not campaign for, demonstrate for, or endorse candidates, ballot causes or efforts to enact legislation. They may not wear campaign buttons or themselves display any other insignia of partisan politics. They should recognize that a bumper sticker on the family car or a campaign sign on the lawn may be misread as theirs, no matter who in their household actually placed the sticker or the sign.”

Anytime a reporter,editor, board member or executive has a tie to a story..that connection is noted. For example, Chairman of the New York Times Company, Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr. , is part owner in New England Sports Ventures, which includes the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park and 80 percent of the New England Sports Network and when a story about the Red Sox is run in the NYTCO’s Boston Globe his connection the the team prefaces the article.

Sulzberger also has an affiliation with Outward Bound, a program designed to motivate city youth to get outdoors and explore areas beyond their communities. When the New York Times ran an article about a small public school in Manhattan that has partnered with Outward Bound, Sulzberger’s connection was noted within the article’s text.


While connections between executives and editorial content are plainly made, connections between the company’s non-news websites and editorial content are more blurred. The New York Times Company owns about.com and often links to the website within articles and columns it runs.

“We are very excited about this acquisition, which furthers our strategy of delivering news and information to local and national audiences with multiple media products,” said Janet Robinson, president and CEO of the New York Times Company. “Primedia and About’s management team, led by Peter Horan, have successfully transformed About into a popular and profitable business. The global reach of About.com and opportunities for cross-promotion between its channels and our digital properties will be additive for both businesses. With the Times Company behind it, About.com is poised to grow even further, benefiting The New York Times Company and its shareholders.”

The New York Times Company bought about.com in 2005 for $410 million in what web optimization specialist’s called an effort to expand advertisers and explore micro-content. John Battelle argues that about.com was an opportunity for the Times Company to expand its searchability and advertising profits.

“About allows the Times to offer its own, non-search advertisers more opportunities to get noticed – Now the Times can sell a national auto advertiser like GM both the main Times site, as well as About’s auto enthusiast sites. Would GM make a small About buy without a Times’ relationship? Possibly, but unlikely,” he said.

The diversification of the New York Times Company includes more than the acquisition of a few websites. The Times also owns Baseline StudioSystems, a television and movie database where producers and film makers can access information for their productions.

Many producers that use the website have their films included in the list of movie and television reviews on the New York Times website. For example, Pen Densham, the producer of The Outer Limits is a subscriber to the service and is listed in the customer comments database.When The Outer Limits was reproduced for DVD, the New York Times ran a very positive and fluffy story about the kickback sci-fi show’s return. Coincidence or not. there seems to be an inherent conflict of interest between controlling data that producers need for shows and reviewing movies and shows that those same producers fund.

Sources

New York Times Ethics Policy

The New York Times Media Kit

Exploring the Outer Limits of an Older Comedy Genius

The New York Times Wiki

Studio Systems

The News York Times is Deep in Web 2.0

About the Company

Posted by: Lauren Fox | April 22, 2010

The shrinking newsroom and what that means for readers.

By: Lauren Fox

1,797 reporters, editors, copyeditors, designers and photographers have been forced to leave their newsrooms this year. To make matters worse, it doesn’t look like it is going to get any better in 2010.

According toPatrick Thornton, the US-based “beat blogging” enthusiast, “These were our beacons of light, and they couldn’t make it. The journalism industry has lost a lot of journalists, and many of those that it has lost were the best, brightest and most innovative.”

The loss means more than increased unemployment; it means a decline in coverage, a decrease in quality  news products and more susceptibility to unethical ties with advertisers.

Newspapers fight to keep advertisers interested

In a traditional newsroom, advertisers have not been allowed to dictate content. However, with revenues dropping lower than ever before, 16.6 % in 2009, editorial staffs are finding themselves backed into a corner.

Although, online advertisers account for roughly  10 percent of newspaper’s income yearly, even those profits are plummeting and alarming rates. Last year revenues for online advertising dropped 1.8 percent. It doesn’t seem like much, but that is a $3.1 billion loss.

Henry Holcomb, the president of the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia, has been a journalist for more than 40 years. He says that the competition on the internet in conjunction with the recession has been enough to make reporters and newspapers reevaluate their “purpose.”

“The newspapers had a clearer mission back when I began reporting. That mission was to report the truth and raise hell. But corporate pressures have blurred this vision,” he said.

Janine Jackson from the Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting group said the group surveyed hundreds of journalists and found that 60% of reporters said that they could recall a time when they were asked to change a story so that it reflected more favorably on an advertiser.

While advertisers would relish in the opportunity to make it into the newspaper without having to buy a square or full page ad, giving advertisers or supporters of the paper special editorial coverage would be in violation of a widely recognized media ethics rule.

The rule states that newspapers should not let advertisers dictate editorial content in any way. That includes letting an advertiser receive favorable coverage in an effort to get their business.

Sometimes, as in the example of the New Haven Register, an exchange is made that violates long standing ethics. When Ikea furniture store opened in nearby New Haven, Ikea bought a few ads and the paper produced 12 Ikea stories in an eight-day-period. The paper ran 17 photographs and a sidebar on product information.

Headlines included phrases such as  “Ikea’s Focus on Child Labor Issues Reflects Ethic of Social Responsibility”and “Ikea Employees Take Pride in Level of Responsibility Company Affords Them”. Ikea even paid for one of the newspaper’s  reporters to go to Sweden and  visit the company’s headquarters.

In addition to a higher reliance on advertisers for survival, newspapers have had to reduce coverage by so much that many print products have physically shrunk.

Newspapers and newsrooms shrink together

According to Slate, in 2008, The Wall Street Journal shrunk by three inches and a reduction in advertisers has forced the New York Times and USA Today to slim down by at least 8 pages.

The New York Times has been forced to eliminate special sections and limit special even coverage. In 2007, they axed their Sunday television listings and since have cut 6 additional sections.

Coverage is reduced

The loss of revenues have forced large newspapers to close their doors in foreign bureaus.

In 2008, the Boston Globe made a tough choice and decided to close its last three foreign bureaus for the sake of trimming costs. Before 2000, the paper had established a presence in East Asia, Iraq, Russia, Northern Africa and many locations in Western Europe.

Editor Martin Baron said that the Globe had little choice in the decision.

“We concluded that it would be unwise to meet the newsroom’s financial targets by making additional staff reductions,” Baron said .

He added that the paper would continue sending reporters and photographers to overseas locations for special projects.

Some like Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, a nonprofit research group in Washington, argue that loosing foreign bureaus of metropolitan newspapers makes sense if those papers wish to survive.

He said that papers like the Boston globe have been able to sustain circulation and advertising declines, in part because the Internet has given readers easy access to national and international papers such as The New York Times.

This doesn’t mean these larger papers have entirely abandoned foreign correspondence. The Philadelphia Inquirer has a circulation of about 334,000. Like the Globe, it closed the last of its foreign bureaus in November, 2006. However, like many other metropolitan papers,  the paper has a budget for international travel. Inquirer Editor Bill Marimow said the paper uses the funds when an editor decide that his or her own reporter could add value to an article.

The closing of foreign bureaus, reduction of national coverage and an increase of hyper-local coverage have not come without significant costs to newspapers and the communities they serve.

Many editors say that  staff cuts reduce the paper’s ability to give local news a more local connect.

“We used to offer special treatment to an election in a far-off country that has a large immigrant population locally. That is no longer in the hands of our senior editors.”

Today the community must get their coverage with a broader theme.

With a conglomeration of newsroom beats, the market place of ideas suffers. Having only one newspaper writing stories about a national topic limits the angles that are covered.

Journalists express dismay that bottom-line pressures are reducing the quality of news coverage.”

Because of a reduction in advertisements, newspapers are continuously competing for audiences.

Daily readership has dropped from 52% of adults who read papers daily to 37% nationally.

This has led many newspaper to become polarized and forgo unbiased coverage to “monopolize” on readers.

“The news media have also become more sensational, more prone to scandal and possibly less accurate. But note the tension between sensationalism and polarization: the trial of Michael Jackson got tremendous coverage, displacing a lot of political coverage, but it had no political valence.”

The increase in polarization and sensationalism has reduced newspapers attention to unbiased reporting.

Sources

Media and Advertising

State of the News Media 2009 and 2010

No More Paper

The Biz Blog

Papers Facing Worst Year for Ad Revenue

Chronicle of Newspaper Death Fortold

Paper Cuts Continue

Fewer Beacons of Light in Akron

Posted by: Lauren Fox | April 22, 2010

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